Dr. Patricia Fara, historian of science at Cambridge, bemoans in Nature today the role biographers have played in reinforcing stereotypes of women in the sciences and mathematics in Women in Science: Weird Sisters?.
It seems that being an ordinary woman with a stellar scientific career is simply not enough: to be marketable, she must also be odd. Dust jackets entice purchasers by rebranding an overlooked character as a unique female individual — in other words, as a weird woman.
Converting female scientists into publishing opportunities may sell books, but it does the cause of equality in science no favours.
Her critique offers a list of recent biographies which, despite any shortcomings, profile some important scientists such as Rosalind Franklin, Dr. Jocelyn Bell, and, Hedy Lamarr, no really.
I would read a Hedy Lamarr bio - she sounds fascinating, not the least because she was a pioneer of wireless technology.
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